Perhaps you release some urine when you laugh, sneeze, or go for a run. Maybe you can't sleep through the night without having to go to the bathroom several times. Or you may experience sudden urges that send you searching desperately for a restroom in the grocery store or on the road.
Whatever form it takes, urinary incontinence, which is a reduction in bladder control, can be a huge annoyance. But the good news is, you don't have to put up with it.
Various treatments — including nonsurgical approaches — can effectively manage incontinence. But to determine what might work best for you requires expert evaluation from specialists who have extensive experience diagnosing, managing, and treating incontinence.
That's what you get at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, where Susan Crockett, MD, and our all-female team of highly trained care providers are exceptionally skilled at helping patients with incontinence.
Surgery is one treatment option. But there are several nonsurgical strategies that can help alleviate incontinence, too. Read on to learn what these strategies are and whether they might be right for you.
In some cases, changes such as cutting back on caffeine, changing the amount and timing of hydration, losing weight, reducing alcohol intake, or quitting smoking can improve your urinary habits.
When incontinence occurs because muscles in the pelvic floor region have grown weak, pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, may help. To do Kegel exercises, you tighten and relax the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine while you're peeing.
Keep in mind that when incontinence occurs because pelvic floor muscles are too tight, Kegels only make things worse. Talk to us before doing pelvic floor exercises.
If you need to urinate frequently or if you experience sudden urges to pee, you may benefit from bladder training. This is a process by which you track how often you go to the bathroom and gradually increase time between bathroom visits.
By doing bladder training, you teach your bladder to store more urine before it sends you a message that it's time to go to the bathroom.
In some cases, certain types of medication can help manage incontinence. When incontinence is related to menopause, for example, hormonal medications (hormone replacement therapy pills or topical estrogen-containing creams or devices inserted into the vagina) may help with incontinence.
A vaginal pessary is a removable doughnut-shaped device that you insert into your vagina. It helps support your pelvic floor muscles, which may be useful if you have incontinence related to weak muscles in the pelvic region.
It may help you if you leak urine when you exercise, sneeze, or cough — a condition known as stress incontinence.
If you need a vaginal pessary, we write a prescription for one that fits the dimensions of your vagina.
If you do need surgery for incontinence, Dr. Crockett offers minimally invasive robotic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system.
Robotic surgery is a safe, effective procedure performed through a few tiny incisions. The da Vinci surgical system features a 3D high-definition magnification system and tiny instruments that enhance Dr. Crockett’s flexibility, precision, and control.
Robotic surgery offers many benefits over traditional open surgery, including fewer side effects, less bleeding, less pain, smaller incisions, and quicker recovery. It’s an option worth considering if nonsurgical strategies don't address your symptoms.
Incontinence doesn't have to slow you down. We can evaluate your situation and recommend a personalized treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office to schedule an appointment.